Leadership Strategies

Servant Leadership Conecpts



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By helping others achieve and attain what they want, you will achieve what you want. Leadership is influence. Everything begins and ends with leadership. Servant leadership, although a new management concept, is an old, tried and true way to success in any aspect of business and in life.

Servant leadership is often credited to Robert Greenleaf in his essay, "The Servant as Leader" and is a concept supported and taught by modern leaders such as Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, and Ken Jennings. Motivational speakers like Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar credit their success (personal and financial) to servant leadership. Servant leadership is as old as the bible - as Jesus Himself practiced servant leadership.

Leadership, in itself, is also a misunderstood concept as so-called leaders of business misuse their role to 'dis-empower', lead by rule, or to only delegate tasks in order to take advantage of their position. Productivity will not be maximized; morale in the workplace will be low; and eventually failure will be the outcome.

The successful leader who runs their business through inspiration and by 'serving' those below them recognize servant leadership as the way to influence through inspiration instead of influence through fear. As the role of a leader moves their way up the proverbial ladder of success, their responsibilities must grow as their privileges decrease. This is the perfect model of the servant leader.

These are 5 big differences between servant leadership and ineffective leadership.

1. Servant leadership gets people out of the mess. Ineffective leadership keeps them in the mud.
2. Servant leadership is interested when people speak. Ineffective leadership likes to listen to their own voice.
3. Servant leadership praises with honest appreciation. Ineffective leadership always calls attention to mistakes.
4. Servant leadership looks to always give recognition. Ineffective leadership looks to always get recognition.
5. Servant leadership takes the blame and lets others shine. Ineffective leadership always blames others but will always takes the credit.

"People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives." Theodore Roosevelt. Servant leadership is much the same. The servant leader is with the people, they are serving the people's needs. The 'boss' serves their own needs and 'bosses' people around from behind the scenes.

1. Servant leadership gets people out of the mess. Ineffective leadership keeps them in the mud.

Servant leadership pulls people out of the mess. They help those who are doing poorly and help serve them identify problems and work to solve them.

The problem with today's ego driven leader is that if there is a problem with a person, they point it out, but leave them in the mud. The 'fend for yourself' concept and 'what have you done for me lately' attitude is self serving and not serving.

"A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better." Jim Rohn

2. Servant leadership is interested when people speak. Ineffective leadership likes to listen to their own voice.

An ineffective leader will be heard using the word "I" over and over when they speak. They appreciate the tone of their own voice instead of opening an ear and listening. Without listening, there is poor understanding.

Today's great leaders listen in order to understand. In fact, the founding forefathers of the United States learned from the native Indian Chiefs of the land as they introduced the 'talking stick' as a tool of communication to the new leaders of America. The person holding it would speak and whoever was around would only listen. Once the speaker felt he/she was understood, the stick would pass to the next speaker.

Servant leadership applies this concept using the proverbial baton or talking stick to listen in order to understand instead of speak in order to be heard.

3. Servant leadership praises with honest appreciation. Ineffective leadership always calls attention to mistakes.

Leaders who inspire and show honest appreciation to those they serve influence more around them than those ineffective leaders who continually point out mistakes.

Recognition goes a long way. A pat on the back, a job well done, and or, a simple smile will give a person a sense of purpose. Acknowledgment that they accomplished certain goals through praise and honest appreciation gives allows a person to be proud of their accomplishment. A great leader will always praise and lets the employee shine, and when there are mistakes, solves them together.

The ineffective leader refrains from praise, but feels in order to get results, all the mistakes need to be pointed out to show they know more and are qualified (albeit ego driven) leaders. These so-called leaders lack the ability to influence effectively.

4. Servant leadership looks to always give recognition. Ineffective leadership looks to always get recognition.

Often, an ego-driven leader will take recognition for work of his or her staff. But without the team, without the work of many in the team, the manager cannot achieve greatness. A great leader will always give the recognition instead of get the recognition. These are insecurities that can lead to failure. Confidence by letting others get the recognition shows great qualities of a servant leader.

5. Servant leadership takes the blame and lets others shine. Ineffective leadership always blames others but will always takes the credit.

If there is failure, the servant leader takes responsibility and accountability of the failure. As the ship sinks, they go down with the ship. It is no body else's fault but their own and they take ownership of it. They take the blame but when things go right, they immediately let others shine. This is true servant leadership.

The ineffective leader will blame everyone around them for their failures, but if there is some sort of success, they will immediately step up and take credit for it. The pattern will be fewer successes as time goes on, and more failures.

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves." Lao-Tzu

Although the implementation of servant leadership as a new business management concept has only recently been adapted, the core qualities of natural leaders with great success show their successes are based on servant leadership ideals and practices.

Servant leadership may be a new business management concept, but the practices and results of servant leadership is as old as the bible. Unfortunately, the term 'leader' is referred to as someone with many followers, but a true leader is someone who serves and knows how to follow.

"You will never be a leader unless you first learn to follow and be led." Tiorio

More about this author: Glenn Magas

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